Iranian Journal of Psychiatry 2018. 13(2):85-94.

Age at Onset and Social Cognitive Impairment in Clinically Stabilized Patients with Schizophrenia: An Ecological Cross-Sectional Study
Massimiliano Buoli, Alice Caldiroli, Marta Serati, Giulia Orsenigo, Elisabetta Caletti


Objective: Purposes of the present study were to assess the social cognitive impairment in schizophrenia and to detect if some clinical variables (particularly age at onset) are predictive of general/social cognitive deficit in schizophrenia patients.

Method: Thirty-five clinically stabilized schizophrenia outpatients were assessed by the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS) and by Torralva’s social cognition battery. Binary logistic models were performed to find an eventual association between continuous clinical variables and cognitive test failures. The total sample was divided in groups according to dichotomous variables (gender, diagnostic subtypes and type of abuse) and the presence of cognitive deficits was compared between groups by χ2 tests.

Results: An earlier age at onset was found to be predictive of frontal cognitive impairment (Tower of London p=0.038, OR=0.702). Female gender was more probably associated with mistakes at MET-HV (χ2= 4.80, p=0.05, phi=0.40) and HOTEL tests (χ2= 5.25, p=0.04, phi=0.4) than male one. Cannabis abusers showed more frequently deficits on verbal fluency (χ2= 9.35, p=0.04, phi=0.52) and executive functioning (Tower of London) (χ2= 11.67, p=0.02, phi=0.58) than alcohol/cocaine ones.

Conclusion: Female patients with an early age at onset and cannabis abuse seem to have the worst general and social cognitive profile among patients suffering from schizophrenia


schizophrenia; social cognition; age at onset; gender; cannabis abuse

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